Why am I getting excited?
Well I am soon to take delivery of a 2016 pre registered delivery mileage Nissan Leaf Acenta 30 kwh model which I have purchased from Vospers Nissan Plymouth and hope to receive on Saturday 1st April 2017 (I hope a good omen).
(below is a screen print from their website so the video does not play from the this image)
The purpose of this blog post is to try and explain my decision making process in buying this particular car and my experience as a new owner- please keep coming back to read the updates.
I am having to justify the decision to myself after my Son Adrian passed the following comments on his Fathers choice…
“Your selling a perfectly good and reliable low mileage Jaguar XF for a Nissan Leaf – Are you going crazy Father!!!”
This view I fear will be held by many so let me explain my decision if only to convince myself.
The below image is a mind map created on the iThoughtsHD app on my ipad.
The left hand column is the cons whilst the right hand column are the pros.
Let me start by saying my Jaguar XF was a 2008 model I had owned for over 5 years and had covered just 41500 miles when I sold it.
Karen has a 2009 Jaguar X type estate and I thought that keeping two large diesel engine vehicles was hard to justify on a pollution basis.
We needed to keep the estate as we intend to get a dog and my Jag was doing less than 4000 miles a year so it seemed sensible to try out a Zero Emission vehicle as a second car.
I decided I wanted to own the vehicle and its battery so I discounted the Nissan Leaf Battery Lease scheme as well as PCP.
I test drove a BMW I3 but was not impressed and I did not like the look of the Renault ZOE having sat in one. I discounted Volkswagen on the basis of their cheating emission results so that left me with the Tesla or the Nissan Leaf. I could not afford £50,000 plus (second hand) for a Tesla so it was a simple choice to look for a Leaf.
I went to my local Nissan dealer and as luck would have it they had a pre registered Acenta with just 10 miles on the clock for with a substantial saving on the new retail price which starts at £25790 for this model. I took it for a drive and was really surprised at the comfort and silence of the car. It had plenty of torque at low speed and seemed a decent size with a sensible hatch back. It also had the larger capacity battery which should increase its range to over 107 miles between charges.
I decided to sell my Jag privately and placed my order for the Leaf in magnetic red as seen in the image above.
I had done a lot of research prior to committing to buy. I was left with three concerns following this research:
- Range anxiety
- Poor Image
Ugly: Let me deal with ugly first – many describe the leaf as ugly and its headlamps as frog eyes. I did not find it so un pleasing on the eye. In fact these comments have prompted me to give it a name before I pick it up. It will be called Kermit. The cartoon character Kermit is “Green” (environmentally friendly) and has frog eyes! So that was that con dealt with.
Poor Image: There is a huge lack of knowledge and understanding of zero emission vehicles. My research established a lot of animosity towards this new technology. All of this negative feeling seems to come from traditional “petrol heads”. The Leaf came out in 2011 and to date over 200,000 have been sold. If you look at the Nissan Leaf forums and videos on YouTube you see just how positive and enthusiastic these owners are about this car.
Range Anxiety: This seems to be the biggest fear for new electric vehicle owners. The car has a range indicator (humorously called a guessometer in the forums) which adjusts the range left and battery level according to your driving style and road conditions. It is clear that you need to do more planning with an electric vehicle if your return trip is more than the battery range of the car.
As I will use this car only for short local journeys I anticipate I shall be charging from home most of the time hence I shall be less likely to be troubled by this factor, but we shall see.
I use Youtube a lot for research.
I particularly found The Fully Charged Show channel very helpful and informative. You can see their review of the Nissan Leaf 30 kWh below.
So that was my decision making process in making this purchase. I am looking forward to reporting on my ownership here on my blog which may just help some other drivers come to a better understanding of zero emission vehicle ownership.
Coming soon my Nissan Leaf Acenta Review….
Saturday 1st April 2017 my Nissan Leaf has arrived
Today my 2016 registered Nissan Leaf Acenta has arrived. I collected it from Vospers Nissan at Marsh Mills around 1100 today Saturday 1st April 2017.
Now April Fools day may not be the best day to pick up a car but as it was also the day I retired from the Police 10 years ago it holds no fear for me.
Today started well when my darling wife celebrating my 10 years away from the Police with a bottle of Brandy, a medal and a card. The medal was for putting up with her full time for the past 10 years !(boy have I earned it!)
So as a happy and excited Hector I set off to Vospers to collect Kermit.
Karen Dropped me off and went on to her Mothers and I spent the next hour with Darren Walker from Vospers paying the bill and then being thoroughly shown the car and its functions.
Darren runs a Leaf himself on his commute to work and it makes a huge difference when the salesman knows the car and all its functions – thank you Darren!
Before I set off I took an image of the dash with my iphone.
Just 19 miles on the clock (5 of those were my test drive) and 100% charged!
The first journey was to go and meet up with Karen at her mothers and then home to Ivybridge.
It was the most foul weather imaginable with torrential rain, hail, sleet and flooding. The leaf coped well.
I then took Karen to a local car park where she took her first test drive and then we went onto to my favourite local pub “The Turtley Cornmill“
After a celebration pint of Guinness it was back home.
One of my initial fears was how easy would it be to charge the Leaf at home
Well it could not be more simple. The car comes with a 13 amp socket charging lead.
The plug goes into a normal socket.
It runs across the garage to the bonnet of the Leaf
It plugs into the 13 amp charging port on the leaf.
You turn the plug on at the switch and the adaptor shows its ready then starts to charge
The three blue lights on the top of the dash start to flash to show it is charging
Inside the car a little green plug light flashes to show it is charging
And the badge on the side of the car says it all – Zero Emissions!
One fear I had was that the cost of charging would be dearer than reported elsewhere.
Stupid I know but I am a bit of a pessimist.
I then went inside the house to check on my electric smart meter.
It was showing 0.38 pence per hour. Now the house usually runs around 6 pence per hour without anything major running so I was reassured that around the 32p per hour was really cheap.
Even it it takes 10 hours on an empty battery that would only be £3.20 and that should cover well over 100 miles.
So my first impressions are very favourable and some of my immediate concerns have been removed.
I have also been contacted by Pod Point. As part of the deal I can claim a free at home charging point or for a £95 fee an enhanced 7Kw faster charger using Nissan’s donation and the Government grant.
There are however some issues with my garage and its current wiring capacity so I will report later once this has been resolved.
There is so much different to owning a Zero Emission Vehicle such as my Nissan Leaf that I feel bound to keep reporting it here.
Sunday was our second day of ownership and I took Karen out for a short joy ride to get used to the car. I cannot remember when I have used the expression Joy Ride in connection with an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) car. It was a sunny day and we drove over to Jenny Cliff and had a short walk on which we bumped into some old friends. Why on earth am I waffling on about this – well on the drive home we had our first “Nissan Wave“
Just like in the old days when Karen drove Morris Minors we used to get a cheery wave from another owner so too does it now appear that Leaf owners have an exclusive wave. It was a pretty metallic blue Leaf whose occupants waved at us and I eagerly waved back like a mad man – how sad is that!
Monday saw my Son Adrian visit and I took him out for his first drive in an EV. He is the one who has commented so negatively below. I even let him have a drive on the way home to try and convert him.
Secretly I think he was surprised how nice a car it is but his macho image will not let him admit as much!
Connecting My Leaf to Nissan Connect EV
You can do many things with your Leaf, like remotely turning on the heating / air conditioning, setting a timer for charging, checking the battery status and more.
Having read about these facilities I was keen to give it a go. I went to the Nissan Connect Portal where I created my account. I entered all my car and personal details and then tried to connect to my Leaf.
That’s when I had my first panic. I had an error code SE3
I then did some Google searching and found a disturbing thread in a forum suggesting this was an issue with the TCU (whatever that is) which might need replacing.
I should have done the correct thing which was to contact Nissan EV Customer Service.
I gave them a ring and they quickly established I had set the account up wrong and had not entered an engine number in the correct field! DOH!
They sorted it out for me and then it connected correctly and I was able to view the functions on the laptop and Iphone app – cool!!
This car has cloth seats, something I have not had in a long while. I have decided to buy some cheap seat covers and boot liner for the times I need to go to the tip or get in and out with dirty overalls. I was surprised with how many accessories there were for the Leaf on eBay.(below links are my affiliate links)
Nissan Leaf Seat Covers
End Date: Monday Jan-29-2018 15:59:56 GMT
Buy It Now for only: £31.99
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Nissan Leaf Boot Liners
End Date: Sunday Feb-11-2018 14:57:13 GMT
Buy It Now for only: £14.95
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That’s it so far but do come back and read my update on POD POINT and the installation of my charger which is proving problematic.
I got my first TREE today !
If you look at the image above you will see a circular image with a little tree just to the bottom right of the arc. That shows I have driven the car economically today. I travelled 24.4 miles and saved over 7.2 kg of CO2 emissions!!!
On a longer journey you can grow up to 5 trees which I think is a really cute way of depicting its eco savings.
The next day I did even better. I took a longer journey over to Brixham to see Mike & Sandy and generated two trees on the way and two more on the way back!!
I was keen to let Mike see the Leaf as I know he has a similar interest in the technology and renewable energy in general. He and Sandy had a good look around the car before Mike and I set off for Noss Marina and a trip out on our boat Blue Marlin III (diesel I am afraid).
Before heading back Mike had a spin around the car park to see what driving it was like if only for a short distance.
On returning Mike home I was presented with a Nissan Emergency Power Kit by Sandy.
I was really touched that Sandy had made this for me. Such care and consideration.
- Disposable Gloves – for insulation
- Dress to cover holes
- Burns Kit – for electrical burns
- Face Shield – if in shock
- Map – of location of emergency AED’s (automated external defibrillator)
- Bag of batteries – for emergencies
How nice, and there was me thinking Sandy had no interest in Zero Emission vehicles – how wrong could I be!!!!
So there it is – if I run out of charge I have 6 spare AA batteries and all the first aid kit to safely wire them in myself – Thanks Sandy!!!!!!
So far since installing the App I have travelled 78.8 miles using 16.6 kWh with a total CO2 saving of 22kg (at a cost of £2.64 – about 3p per mile)
Keep coming back for more updates as I learn more about my Nissan Leaf – coming soon an update on Pod Point
Pollution Caused By Diesel Engines
You will see in the mind map above one of my main reasons for choosing an electric vehicle was Zero Emissions. I had been driving a 2.7 litre turbo diesel Jaguar. I had made a decision to drive diesel for many years on a basic assumption that Government and European Policy was that diesel coupled with a diesel particulate filter was better for the environment.
A Jaguar with the same size engine would use about double my diesel consumption so hence I was being environmentally friendly choosing a diesel over petrol.
It now appears I am wrong. (click the link to read the full article)
New European research shows “diesel cars are intensifying, rather than mitigating, global warming”, according to Dr Eckard Helmers, Professor of chemical and environmental analysis at Trier University of Applied Sciences.
Whilst this research is being disputed by the major car companies there is now a large body of evidence emerging to prove the effect of diesel on air pollution.
I live in Devon and the sunny South Hams so why should I worry what restrictions are being placed on diesel cars in London or Paris?
Well I was shocked to find out that children in 12 Plymouth nursery schools are being exposed to illegal levels of air pollution. Plymouth is just down the road from me and to find out that the legal level of 40 ug/m3 within 150 m of a nursery was being exceed for 12 schools is alarming.
What is more alarming is and I quote (click the link to find the full article to read)
Outside of London, the top 10 local authority areas most affected are: Birmingham, Sandwell, Nottingham, Plymouth, Manchester, Leicester, Hampshire, Leeds, Wolverhampton and Salford. In London, there are more than 750 nurseries within 150m of an air pollution hotspot, while more than 20 nurseries are close to a road where nitrogen dioxide levels are double the legal limit
These children are our future yet we are poisoning them with Diesel and Petrol fumes!
I am now seriously considering what to replace my second car with to avoid further pollution.
You may find this video interesting
I love my Nissan Leaf.
The last time I was this excited and made excuses to go out in a car was when I bought a BMW Z3 several years ago!!
As Mike has asked the question, the longest round trip so far has been 54 miles. This used less than half a full charge so over a 100 miles should be easy to achieve per charge cycle.
One worry I had was charging overnight. I let the battery fall below 20% and have done my first full overnight charge. I plugged the car in when I went to bed and at 0800 it was sat there fully charged and ready to go! Simples!
I have travelled just over 200 miles so far and it is ridiculous how little this costs to charge and use and there are no emissions – zero – nadda – zilch – nothing!! I did not buy this car for the economy but I am really noticing it in use.
Other Nissan Leaf Benefits
I have been busy today pricing a replacement catalytic converter for my son’s Fiesta ST. The price raged from £400 – £600 which got me thinking I will never have a bill for that from my Leaf!
Nor will I have a bill for spark plugs, valves,distributor,starter motor,clutch,exhaust,DPF, Oil, Filters etc, etc, etc the list goes on and on……….
Update on the POD Point – Its being fitted next week!! I will report back then
Pod Point Home Charging
One of the attractions with purchasing this Nissan Leaf was the fact I could receive a government grant and an allowance from Nissan to have a dedicated home charging point installed.
Pod Point Electric Car Charging Stations can install chargers at your home, place of work as well as a large network of public charge points.
The first question to address is why would you want one if the car comes with a 3 pin plug charger?
The answer is all to do with speed of charge.
If we talk in rate of charge per hour in terms of miles it makes more sense.
- The 3 pin plug charges at a max of 10 miles of range per hour
- the 3.7 kw pod point charges at 15 miles range per hour
- the 7 kw charges at 30 miles range per hour.
Therefore by paying £95 I gain a charging point that charges the car 3 times faster than the standard 3 pin plug. This was necessary as I intend to use the car during the mornings and put a fast charge into the car over lunch and have it ready fully charged for the afternoon.
This was the important factor in chosing the 6.6 kva hour charging function on my particular model leaf (it is an optional extra at £1154 on a new car and well worth the investment according to my research).
I had the option to have a 3.7 kvacharge point or the 7 kva charge point. I chose the 7 kva option which meant I had to make a £95 contribution towards the total cost, £500 came from the OLEV grant and £279 from Nissan.
Having made the decision to go ahead with the 7kva charger the process of applying online through Pod Point was easy and straight forward. There is an idiot proof step by step guide. There are several forms to fill in on line but considering the amount of money I was claiming for free it was well worth it.
Be Aware Of The Conditions For Installation Before You Start!!!
I was aware I had a very basic supply going into my garage with a high demand of a freezer, tumble dryer, two electric door openers and cctv recorder. I fully expected this was the max I could use on the size of cable supplying the garage.
To be sure I took some pictures of the installation and emailed them to Pod Point Support. They were very helpful and confirmed my fears that there was too much of a load on my system to install a 7 kva charging point.
I then had a local electrician survey and then fit a new large dedicated supply to the garage direct from the mains supply. This cost me £335 but was well worth it as it meant I have a totally safe electric system which is future proof should I buy a second EV! It also means should the freezer circuit trip the car will still charge or vice versa,
I then completed the application and the appointment made for the Pod Point installer to come.
Installation was very simple as a result of my preparation. The engineer was very knowledgeable and helpful and in 2 hours all was done.
The top white box is the installation by Pod Point, the bottom box is the new garage supply I had fitted.
And above is the image of the new 7 kva charging point installed by Pod Point.
There are several benefits for me:
- Its safe and secure in my garage.
- It is out of the rain.
- It saves me taking the charging cable out of the boot and then replacing it after a charge.
- It will be a faster charge.
So now I was all set for faster charging – or was I?
That evening I plugged the leaf in. It had about 35% charge already so I was expecting a 3 to 4 hour charge. The next day I had notification on the leaf app at 0830 to say the car had charged.
I was shocked – it had taken nearly 12 hours to charge from 35%.
I thought I had made a mistake. I used the car on the Thursday 20th April in the morning and charged the car in the afternoon. I monitored its charging rate which was almost exactly the same as using the trickle charger on a 13 amp plug!
Late in the day I rang POD Point as I was very angry at having spent out this money to be no further forward!
Pod Point support were extremely helpful. The charging point is connected to them via my wifi. They could tell my pod point was working correctly and after some testing of the car system with me sat in the car pushing the right buttons she was able to confirm my Nissan Leaf WAS NOT a 6.6 kva charging version but a 3.6 kva version.
I was in shock – I had expressly chosen my Leaf as it was advertised and sold to me as a 6.6kva charger – see the advert image at the top of this blog.
By now it was too late to contact Vospers so I sent them a detailed email ready for the next day. I did some detailed research on the internet and found this is not the first time a 3.6kva had been advertised and sold as a 6.6kva – this time by another Nissan Dealer click here http://www.leafers.co.uk/2015/01/09/discussions-continue-with-nissan-dealer/
I also discovered there is a label attached to the engine on the left hand side as you look at the front of the car which should give the detail of its charging capability.
After much craning of neck muscles I managed to locate the label and take an image of it on the mobile phone.
As you can clearly see it shows my car as a 3.6 kva charging vehicle.
Clearly something has gone very wrong indeed.
I will update the blog soon with the results of my discussions with Vospers.
In the mean time if you are buying a Leaf do check this label before you purchase.
Kermit has Gone !!!!
This is all I have left of my Nissan Leaf (an air freshener Karen bought me)
After mis selling me my leaf it has been returned to Vospers Nissan Plymouth
Please read my detailed update – if you own a leaf or are thinking of buying one I suggest you do click the link
Nissan Leaf Acenta 30Kwh Zero Emission Vehicle
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